Conditioning key for overseas Boks

2017-04-04 15:54
Bismarck du Plessis and Jannie du Plessis (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Springbok coach Allister Coetzee says that he will continue to pick overseas-based Springboks, but only if they arrive at national camps in the right condition. 

Coetzee can pick whoever he wants for the three Tests against France in June, but following that series only Boks who have 30 or more Test caps will be available for selection in line with SA Rugby's new policy on overseas-based players. 

The new policy runs until 2019, when Coetzee will be able to pick whoever he wants again in what is a World Cup year. 

At a training squad assembled in Stellenbosch from Sunday to Tuesday, the second such camp of 2017, Coetzee spoke on Monday about his policy on overseas-based players. 

He acknowledged that picking too many players from outside of South African borders could be problematic. 

"Like I experienced last year, the more you have your overseas-based players players who only rock up here a week before the Test, the more you put yourself under pressure in terms of preparation and team culture," he said.

"There has got to be a fine line. If I don't have a No 1 in South Africa and he is overseas, then yes, I'll have a look at that player and if he's part of the succession plan into 2019 then you have to have a look at the player."

For now, it seems like Coetzee is not looking too much further than France. 

Under massive pressure since losing eight of 12 Tests in 2016, Coetzee is desperate for results in June in a series that many believe will determine his future. 

"We want to select the best possible team for the French," Coetzee said.

But, he emphasised, those players would need to be in a physical condition that fell in line with SA Rugby's newly-established national conditioning plan. 

"But ... and this is the big 'but' ... those players overseas must be monitored in such a way so that they don't rock up here not in a proper condition.

"There will be assessments done. If you adhere to the conditioning protocols and criteria, if you tick off the boxes in terms of your well-being and you understand the fundamentals that we're facing against the French then you will be eligible.

"It's important. Whatever could give us the edge, we should make use of that."

The Springboks' first Test of the year will be against France in Pretoria on June 10.

Read more on:    springboks  |  allister coetzee  |  cape town  |  rugby

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